Fire mitigation goat program is baaaaaack
Goats roam a hillside in Castle Pines as part of the city’s annual fire mitigation program.
Information provided by the City of Castle Pines; photos by Paul Masovero
For the third year in a row, the PineRidge Homeowners Association in Castle Pines contracted with Goat Green, LLC and its herd of goats to help work the fire adaptive community.
On June 12, 300 goats arrived in the Castle Pines community to eat through oak groves in the open space areas of the PineRidge, Buffalo Ridge, and The Retreat homeowners associations. The goal of using goats in fire mitigation was to reduce vertical and horizontal continuity of vegetation to prevent fire from spreading quickly and from getting into trees where it is harder to put out.
Residents and the general public also attended GOAT-ucation Day on Saturday, June 24 and learned more about the use of goats in fire mitigation, met local firefighters, watched Banjo the dog herd the goats, and saw the goats in action. Partners such as South Metro Fire Rescue, the Colorado State Forest Service and Allstate were in attendance to share information as well.
Second year biotech research student Delaney Yehle spoke about the research study on the effect of goats on the land.
New this year, Rock Canyon High School (RCHS) students from the advanced placement (AP) science class conducted a research study on the effect of goats on the land including soil, vegetation, and oak regeneration.
So, Why Goats? They are environmentally friendly, they fertilize, till the soil, and have special enzymes in their stomachs that destroy weed seeds so they are not passed in their poop.
Plus, goats love leaves; after goats eat all the leaves, plants spend their energy growing new leaves instead of strengthening their roots. Without leaves, plants are unable to photosynthesize. After several goat-munches, the plants weaken and die. Also, goats have been used as a least-toxic solution for weed management all around the country, including in Durango, at the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C., and at airports in Chicago, Atlanta and San Francisco.
For more information about fire mitigation with goats in Castle Pines or GOAT-ucation Day, visit http://www.castlepinesgov.com/were-baaack.